THE Provost of the College of Architecture and Planning of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has accused politicians of interfering in the work of professionals in the management of cities.
He said metropolitan chief executives (MCEs) usually had no knowledge on city management but instead of allowing professionals to take control of the situation, they did everything to interfere in the work of professionals, only to compound existing problems.
Speaking at the opening of a validation workshop on the draft National Urban Policy (NUP) in Kumasi, Prof. Seth Asiama, who is also the Ashanti Regional representative on the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said “Urban management is not a political job but a professional one”.
The process of urbanisation holds enormous promise for the socio-economic progress of the nation but over the years, this process has been confronted with a number of challenges.
To harness the full potential of urban areas and address the challenges which may hinder the realisation of that potential, there is the need for a national policy framework or guidelines for the development of urban areas towards achieving the goal of sustainable development of human settlements.
It was against this backdrop that the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), with support from the German Development Service (GTZ), is developing the NUP.
The aim of the NUP includes guiding the ministry and other relevant government agencies to address urban issues in their policies, strategies and work plans and provide a framework for a well-co-ordinated and collaborative approach of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) towards urban development.
It is also aimed at providing metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), the private sector and civil society with guidance on urban issues and establish a consistent conceptual framework that will guide interventions to facilitate urban development.
Prof. Asiama called on city authorities to take a serious look at the rate at which slums were emerging in their various localities.
He said the situation was disturbing and indicated, “We expect that the 2010 census will give us disturbing results about the situation”.
He said the development of slums came with serious repercussions for national growth and must be checked at all cost.
He stated that disasters could easily occur in slums in view of the haphazard development and when they happened, people tended to blame the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) for failing to act.
He disclosed that KNUST would introduce a postgraduate degree programme in urban management next academic year as a way of finding lasting solutions to the problem in the country.
The Chief Director of the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Council, Mr S.O. Kusi-Appiah, noted that cities contributed substantially to the Gross National Product and as such, their growth was very important to national development.
He said sustainable management practices were crucial in achieving the growth needed for the cities.
The National Co-ordinator of the NUP, Mr Kwadwo Yeboah, said the guiding principles of the NUP took into consideration the democratic path and the broader development agenda of the nation.